No, these weren't my Valentine's gift. That is still to come. It was shipped yesterday though.
Back to the topic of Dance. I wanted to share a little of my interest and my past here. My husband and I, although we didn't meet through swing dancing, did a lot of swing dancing together through the earlier part of our dating. In the Spring of 2001 we went to Catalina Island, California to a Swing Dance Camp. There we took many classes from excellent swing dance instructors including the legendary Frankie Manning one of the original Lindy Hoppers. We also sat down and listened to stories and a question and answer session with him. It was amazing to be in the presence of such a living legend. I was most touched by the fact that music and dancing was such a social area of integration and the color lines often dissolved around this dance at such a point in history where such was not the case in most places and situations including the professional dance and teaching realm. The funniest story was about when Frankie taught Denzel Washington and Spike Lee how to lindy hop on the set of Malcolm X. He said that Denzel was a natural and very good at it while Spike Lee just plain stunk. If you haven't seen Malcolm X, it is a very good and interesting movie. I highly recommend it.
And how this all relates to tap. At the aformentioned Swing Camp, I took a tap class with Chaz Young, Frankie's son. Chaz worked with legends including Sammy Davis Jr., the Nicholas Brothers, and Gregory Hines and appeared in the movie The Cotton Club.
Here is a video that gives more of the history of the lindy hop including an interview with Frankie. In 2009, Frankie is 94 (1/2) and still dancing strong. The other interviewee in this video is Norma Miller who we also saw dance and speak in Evanston at a fundraiser.
Here are some friends from Chicago doing Lindy Hop in this decade! (Though Evin has since moved to Atlanta). The video repeats itself, so it is really only half as long as it looks. Unless you want to watch it again, which you just might.